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Exports fall 0.8 pc in Dec, trade deficit widens to USD 15.71 bn

New Delhi,  Contracting for the third straight month, India”s exports slipped marginally by 0.8 per cent to USD 26.89 billion in December 2020, due to decline in sectors like petroleum, leather and marine products, as per the government data.

The trade deficit in December widened to USD 15.71 billion, as imports grew by 7.6 per cent to USD 42.6 billion, according to the preliminary data released by the commerce ministry on Saturday.

Exports in December 2019 were USD 27.11 billion, while imports stood at USD 39.5 billion. In November 2020, exports were down by 8.74 per cent.

In April-December 2020-21, the country”s merchandise exports contracted by 15.8 per cent to USD 200.55 billion, as compared to USD 238.27 billion in the same period last fiscal.

Imports during the nine months of the current fiscal declined by 29.08 per cent to USD 258.29 billion, as against USD 364.18 billion in April-December 2019-20.

“India is thus a net importer in December 2020, with a trade deficit of USD 15.71 billion, as compared to a trade deficit of USD 12.49 billion, widened by 25.78 per cent,” the ministry said in a statement.

In December 2020, oil imports declined by 10.37 per cent to USD 9.61 billion. During April-December this fiscal, the imports dipped by 44.46 per cent to USD 53.71 billion, it added.

Major commodities of export which have recorded positive growth during the month under review include Oil meals (192.60 per cent), Iron ore (69.26 per cent), Carpet (21.12 per cent), pharmaceuticals (17.44 per cent), spices (17.06 per cent), electronic goods (16.44 per cent), fruits and vegetables (12.82 per cent), and chemicals (10.73 per cent).

The other commodities in the positive terrain include cotton yarn/fabrics/made-ups, handloom products (10.09 per cent), rice (8.60 per cent), meat, dairy and poultry products (6.79 per cent), gems and jewellery (6.75 per cent), tea (4.47 per cent), and engineering goods (0.12 per cent).

Sectors that registered negative growth include petroleum products (-40.47 per cent), oil Seeds (-31.80 per cent), leather and leather manufactures (-17.74 per cent), coffee (-16.39 per cent), ready-made garments of all textiles (-15.07 per cent), man-made yarn/fabrics/made-ups (-14.61 per cent), marine products (-14.27 per cent), cashew (-12.04 per cent), plastic and linoleum (-7.43 per cent), and tobacco (-4.95 per cent).

The major commodities of imports with positive growth in December 2020 include pulses (245.15 per cent), gold (81.82 per cent), vegetable oil (43.50 per cent), chemicals (23.30 per cent), electronic goods (20.90 per cent), machine tools (13.46 per cent), pearls, precious and semi-precious stones (7.81 per cent), and fertilisers (1.42 per cent).

Sectors which recorded negative growth in December 2020 are silver, newsprint, transport equipment, cotton raw and waste, coal, coke and briquettes. PTI